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18.04.22 - 24.04.22 Sup SEAkers!






Ms Paetongtarn Shinawatra shared the stage with party bigwigs at the Pheu Thai general assembly on April 24, 2022. PHOTO: PHEU THAI PARTY




This Week's News Spotlight:

‘I feel sad and worried’: Rohingya community in Malaysia in shock over detention centre breakout - CNA | Indonesian farmers support palm oil export ban - CNA | Rice and the Climate Crisis: Thai rice farmers struggle against climate-driven challenges - CNA | China’s Hainan free-trade port tipped to deepen Asean ties, but island must ‘brave’ uncertainty - SCMP | Australia accuses China of paying bribes to win deals after Solomons pact - ST | Shanghai fences up COVID-hit buildings, fuelling fresh outcry - CNA



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‘I feel sad and worried’: Rohingya community in Malaysia in shock over detention centre breakout - CNA




Rohingya refugees preparing iftar (breaking of fast) meals for fellow refugees and other needy people at a volunteer centre in Selayang, Selangor, on Apr 22, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Vincent Tan)


On Wednesday, a total of 528 Rohingya detainees had escaped the immigration detention centre following a riot, with six of them killed while trying to cross the North-South Expressway after the breakout.


Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin had said that all the detainees who escaped were ethnic Rohingya refugees transferred from a camp in Langkawi island after being detained for trespassing in Malaysian waters and violating the country’s immigration laws in 2020.


Malaysia is considered to be a favoured destination for the Rohingyas who undertake dangerous and deadly journeys by boat from either Myanmar or Bangladesh.


However, Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor its protocol. Hence, there is no asylum system regulating their status and rights.




Indonesian farmers support palm oil export ban - CNA




FILE PHOTO: Containers with cooking oil to be distributed to residents are seen at a local filling station after stocks ran out in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan


Indonesia's Oil Palm Farmers Union said on Sunday (Apr 24) it supported the government's ban on palm oil exports, calling it a temporary measure that was needed to ensure supply and affordability of cooking oil in the domestic market.


The statement came after President Joko Widodo announced on Friday that the world's top palm oil producer and exporter would stop overseas shipments of cooking oil and its raw material from Apr 28 to bring down domestic prices.


The export ban has sent soybean oil prices soaring to a record high amid heightened concerns about already depleted global supplies of alternative vegetable oils.


The farmers union said it appreciated the government's "temporary ban", blaming palm oil companies of "forgetting their duty to fulfill domestic needs".


"We believe in measures taken by the president to ensure domestic supply of cooking oil," its secretary general Mansuetus Darto said in a statement.


Some politicians have criticised the export ban saying it would hurt millions of smallholder farmers, according to media reports, while economists warned of losses in export earnings.




Rice and the Climate Crisis: Thai rice farmers struggle against climate-driven challenges - CNA




(Illustration: Rafa Estrada)




Thai rice is well recognised around the world. But in the global rice trade, its glory could one day be a thing of the past.


In 2012, the country slipped from its position as the world's top exporter and has since struggled to get back to the leading spot. Currently, it is the world's third-biggest rice exporter after India and Vietnam.


Droughts and unpredictable rains in recent years have created major challenges for Thailand’s rice production.


The country is highly vulnerable to climate change. It ranked among the top ten territories that suffered most from extreme weather events over the last two decades in the Global Climate Risk index in 2021.


According to the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank, projections suggest that Thailand’s agriculture sector could be “significantly affected by a changing climate”. This is because it is located in the tropics where “agricultural productivity is particularly vulnerable to temperature rises”.




China’s Hainan free-trade port tipped to deepen Asean ties, but island must ‘brave’ uncertainty - SCMP




Asean companies will be incentivised to invest in Hainan, especially in the service sector. Photo: Xinhua


Hainan’s transformation into a free-trade port will open new doors for trade between China and Asean, but its success will require a leap of faith and pioneering spirit, experts said.


Beijing plans to turn the 35,000 sq km island into the world’s largest free-trade port by 2035, using lower taxes to attract investors, businesses and individuals, and looser visa requirements to lure foreign tourists and talent. It plans to have an independent customs regime in place by 2025.


Seated at the southernmost tip of China, the free-trade port is well placed to strengthen ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which collectively overtook the European Union to become China’s biggest trade partner in 2020.




Australia accuses China of paying bribes to win deals after Solomons pact - ST




Defence Minister Peter Dutton made the allegations as his conservative government faced questions in the run-up to the May 21 general election. PHOTO: REUTERS


Australia's Defence Minister on Sunday (April 24) accused China of paying bribes for international deals, but refused to say whether corruption played a role in Beijing's newly signed defence pact with the Solomon Islands.


Mr Peter Dutton made the allegations as his conservative government faced questions in the run-up to the May 21 general election about how China apparently outmanoeuvred Australia by securing the agreement.


Critics of Prime Minister Scott Morrison have called the pact Australia’s biggest diplomatic failure in the Pacific since World War Two.




Shanghai fences up COVID-hit buildings, fuelling fresh outcry - CNA




File photo. A courier in a protective suit makes deliveries to a residential compound amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China, on Apr 23, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Brenda Goh)


Shanghai authorities battling an outbreak of COVID-19 have erected mesh barriers outside some residential buildings, sparking fresh public outcry over a lockdown that has forced much of the city's 25 million people to stay home.


Images of white hazmat suit-clad workers sealing entrances of housing blocks and even closing off entire streets with roughly 2m-tall green fencing went viral on social media on Saturday, prompting questions and complaints from residents.


"This is so disrespectful of the rights of the people inside, using metal barriers to enclose them like domestic animals," said one user on social media platform Weibo.


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